Estonia 2017: interview with the favourite, Kerli

ESTONIA – Kerli Kõiv, usually referred to mononymously as Kerli, is an Estonian singer and songwriter. Born in Elva, Estonia, Kerli entered multiple singing competitions before being signed to Island Records in 2006 by LA Reid. In 2007, she released her debut self-titled extended play and in 2008, released her debut studio album, Love Is Dead, the latter of which charted on the Billboard 200. The lead single from the album, “Walking on Air,” charted in many countries and was also featured as the iTunes Store’s Single of the Week where it was downloaded over 500,000 times, a record at that time.[1] In the years following, Kerli was featured on Almost Alice with the song “Tea Party” and she began to abandon her alternative rock sound and started to adopt a more electronic and dance-influenced sound, as can be heard in her 2010 single “Army of Love”.

Following the release of Love Is Dead, Kerli began production on a second studio album which became her second extended play Utopia, released in early 2013, where it became Kerli’s second release to chart on the Billboard 200. Two promotional singles from the EP, “Army of Love” and “Zero Gravity”, were released prior to the release of the album’s first official single, “The Lucky Ones”. All three songs entered the top ten of Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart; two of them peaking at number one. Two songs which were co-written by Kerli for Utopia — “Skyscraper” and “I Feel Immortal” — were later recorded by artists Demi Lovato and Tarja Turunen, respectively. Kerli’s version of “I Feel Immortal” was later released on Frankenweenie Unleashed!. In 2013, Kerli performed twice on Dancing with the Stars; Vibe called the performances a “major milestone in the EDM world.” In November 2013, Kerli left Island Records and signed a record deal with Ultra Music. (source:

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am Kerli – Moonchild, Sound Wave Bender, Visual Wizard and an Elven Priestess.

Is there a clear difference between everyday’s Kerli Kõiv, and the Kerli we see on stage ? Is this the same person or two different characters?
The most important thing to me about being alive is authenticity so I guess the Kerli you see on stage is the same Kerli as in everyday life, although the private Kerli is much more introverted. Attention really exhausts me. When it comes to magic and costumes tho, my stage persona is maybe even more subtle than the everyday version of me. I get much more wild when no one is watching – building spaces, finding interesting/borderline insane people to befriend and dressing myself up in crazy stuff. Even when I live in the woods by myself, I like to get dressed up in whatever amazing things I can find in local second hand stores – my recent favorites are 2 sets of real Indian Saris in gem colors. I chop wood and carry water in that stuff. It always has to be beautiful.

If I’m not mistaken, you last took part to the Estonian selection for Eurovision, back in 2004. Why waiting for so long before trying your luck again? In the recent years, I have found a way back to my roots so me wanting to participate at this time comes from a deep appreciation of my country and my people. Also, I just finished an amazing project with the Estonian tourism board where I created music videos and tons of other content introducing the country of Estonia. The timing is just right to compete in the hopes of representing my country on a big stage. It would be an honor.

Among all former Estonian participants at Eurovision, which one is your favourite, and why?
I guess my favorite is Lenna – she’s a ripe artist and her show visual show touches me.

You’re already considered as the hot favourite to wave the Estonian flag this year in Kiev. How confident are you so far? Life is not a competition and I really don’t see this whole thing as a competition either. Everyone in the finals would represent us in a great way, I believe. As I said, my only reason for competing is that it would be an honor and a privilege to represent the country I love so dearly.

What’s the story behind your entry Spirit Animal?
Spirit animal is like a shamanic journey into an arctic dream scape. A place where wild animal spirits roam free and the twin flames profess their endless love towards each other under a hyper colored sky. It’s inspired by animal totems and plant medicines. And love.

What can we wish you Kerli?
You can wish me peace. And peace I will wish for you as well!



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